Heroic Faith: Ave Maria Radio's Al Kresta Celebrates 15 years after Miraculous Recovery
Amputation had been considered. "We have such a symbiotic relationship." Kresta said. "Members of Christ's body are united and we bear each others burdens in spiritual ways. Sally and I believe that God was doing something in us together. I don't have a golden telegram telling me that, but it's what I feel."
At this time, Detroit news reporter and veteran, Teresa Tomeo, had recently left secular media to join the catholic market after a reversion to her Catholic faith. She started to work for Ave Maria Radio just two months before Kresta's illness. Tomeo and Kresta had previously worked together at an evangelical Christian station, so she was looking forward to working with him at a Catholic station. "I got a call from Al's friend, Steve Ray, who had taken him to the hospital. He told me that I had to take over for Al at work because he was very sick and might not live."
Teresa's previous twenty years of broadcasting in Detroit's radio and television market, gave her the confidence to handle doing two shows while he was recovering. "We had a skeleton staff and were used to doing a lot with a little, so I just put it into auto-pilot." She took over for Kresta's talk show while still doing her own program.
"It was amazing to see the outpouring of support, for Al," Tomeo said. "He had been involved in the prolife movement, owned a bookstore, he had worked at an evangelical radio station and had been a pastor, and was now in Catholic radio, so he was well known throughout Michigan." She said that people of all denominations were prayed for him, sent cards and offered to do anything they could to help the family.
Kresta attributes all the prayers and support with lifting him up. "Those prayers gave me more courage to trust that God was really at work. For months afterwards, I still had the feeling of unity, being a part of the mystical body of Christ."
"And God was using everything for good, as it says in Scripture," Tomeo added. "At a time we were trying to get the word out about Ave Maria Radio, Al's disease brought in all kinds of attention even from the national media with the flesh-eating bacteria aspect." She said that even a year later, with follow up stories, Kresta had a chance to talk about Ave Maria Radio and about how his Catholic faith helped him make sense out of suffering.
A few years later, Nick Thomm, executive producer of "Kresta in the Afternoon," discovered he had a brain tumor. A biopsy determined the slow growing tumor was not cancerous, but it had to be removed and treated with radiation. A year later, it started to grow again and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. Thomm attributed his friend and mentor with providing an example that helped him to stay positive. "Al had said that instead of asking 'Why me?' he had asked, 'Why not me?' Given the support, good medical care, loving parish, family, friends and community, he had decided that he was as equipped as anyone to handle it."
Kresta explained that although there has been suffering among families at Ave Maria, there is an understanding that suffering comes to everyone. "We accept it and we pray for each other," he said. "When the suffering comes, we use it to offer up for our ministry. It is easier to endure when it has a purpose."
Prayers are the backbone of Ave Maria and their evangelization projects. The staff prays for each other and their listeners. The chapel on site holds 4 daily Masses open to both staff and the community. Two convents of nuns, The Dominican Sister's of Mary Mother of the Eucharist and the Servants of God's Love, pray for the station and for all prayer requests. People can email or call the station to add their intentions.
Suffering has been at the center of the evangelization effort at Ave Maria. It is not an accident that they named the station after the Blessed Mother, the one who endured tremendous suffering at the foot of the cross. The Ave Maria Radio team has united with Our Lady at the foot of the cross over these past 15 years. This anniversary milestone is their "resurrection moment" - celebrating 15 years that God has allowed them to "proclaim the Gospel to all the nations."
Ave Maria Radio, the world's largest producer of original English language Catholic radio programming, is celebrating its 15th year of spreading the gospel, despite early challenges. They produce over twenty different titles, including three live programs that air weekdays-Kresta in the Afternoon with Al Kresta, Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo, and The Doctor is In with Dr. Ray Guarendi and Coleen Kelly Mast-that are all heard over the EWTN global Catholic radio network's nearly 200 stations, as well as EWTN's Sirius satellite radio channel, streaming audio on the Internet, and iPhone and Android apps.
Over the past 15 years, Ave Maria has not only been involved in evangelization efforts on the radio but has initiated other projects such as their recent "Stop HHS" campaign. When the HHS Mandate was passed earlier this year, Ave Maria led an effort in the country by starting an educational web site www.StopHHS.com and petition drive, which has collected over 100,000 signatures. The site brings awareness and the latest news about the mandates attack on our religious freedom. Kresta is the official spokesperson for the Stop HSS and is passionate to let others know how important this is not only for us as Catholics but for all peoples of all religions in our nation. "We want to help ensure our freedom continues here in America," said Kresta. We need to pray - our nation is at a crossroads."
To celebrate 15 years on the air, Ave Maria Catholic Radio is hosting a concert featuring country music superstar, Collin Raye, and Nashville recording artist along with Franciscan University of Steubenville alumni, Andrea Thomas, at Hill Auditorium on the University of Michigan Campus in Ann Arbor, MI, Saturday, August 25th at 7:30 pm. Doors to the celebration concert open at 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18, $28, $36, and $46. Go to www.MUTOtix.com or call 734-763-TKTS (8587) for tickets and information or visit Ave Maria Radio's 15th Anniversary web site at www.Ave15.com. For radio programming information as well as discovering ways to support and donate to Ave Maria Radio can be found on their web site at www.AveMariaRadio.net.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Patti Maguire Armstrong, Al Kresta, Catholic Radio, Ave Maria, flesh eating disease, suffering, redemptive suffering, lay faithful
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